DeShaun Watson passed for 288 yards and three touchdowns and Clemson withstood a late Virginia Tech rally to seal its second straight ACC championship Saturday night, 42-35, in Orlando.
Cordrea Tankersley’s interception of Jerod Evans’ fourth down pass near the Clemson 30-yard line sealed the Tigers win that gave the program back-to-back ACC titles since 1987 and ’88 and all but assures them a place in the College Football Playoff. Bids go out for that Sunday.
Clemson improves to 12-1. Virgiina Tech drops to 9-4.
Here are notes on the game provided by Clemson Atheltic Media Relations:
- Clemson won its 16th ACC championship and now has the most ACC titles, one more than Florida State. It was Clemson’s 22nd conference title in school history dating to 1896 when the program began.
- This is the first time Clemson has won back-to-back ACC titles since 1986-87-88 when Clemson won three in a row.
- This is Clemson’s third ACC title in the last six years after going 20 years in between titles.
- Clemson and Dabo Swinney are now 3-1 in ACC Championship games, including three consecutive victories, two over Virginia Tech.
- Today was Dabo Swinney’s 18th career win over a top 25 team (ranked in either AP of Amway Coaches Poll). The Clemson record is 20 by Danny Ford between 1978-89).
- Clemson has now won four straight games over Virginia Tech after losing five straight.
- Dabo Swinney is 4-0 against Virginia Tech.
- This was Clemson’s 10th win this season over a bowl eligible team, most in the nation and most in Clemson history for a single season. It is expected that all 10 will play in bowl games this year.
- With tonight’s win, this senior class has 47 victories, a record for a Clemson senior class.
- This was the 30th win against an ACC team for the current Clemson senior class, a school record.
- Clemson enters the bowl season with a 12-1 record. This is just the third team in Clemson history with at least 12 wins. Clemson’s 1981 National Championship team finished 12-0 and last year’s team was 14-1.
- Clemson went over the 500-point mark for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
- Clemson set the team passing touchdown record Saturday with 41 for the season.
- Clemson extended its streak to 43 straight games with at least one sack on Tech’s opening offensive play, a four-yard stop behind the line by Clelin Ferrell.
- Deshaun Watson earned his 30th victory as Clemson’s starting quarterback Saturday, and is now 30-3 as the starter. The record for wins is 32 held by Rodney Williams (1985-88) and Tajh Boyd (2010-13).
- Watson was named Most Valuable Player for a second straight ACC Championship Game.
- Watson completed a school-record 19 consecutive passes dating to the South Carolina game last week. He completed his last nine against the Gamecocks and his first 10 in Saturday’s game.
- Watson threw for three touchdowns Saturday, moving ahead of Tajh Boyd for the Clemson record with 37 passing touchdowns in a season.
- Watson scored two rushing touchdowns, giving him 23 over his career.
- Jordan Leggett passed Dwayne Allen (2011) for the single-season receiving yardage record by a Clemson tight end, finishing with four catches for 49 yards. Leggett is the first Tiger tight end to post at least 600 receiving yards in a season.
- Leggett tied former Tiger wideout Terry Smith for sixth in Clemson history with his 18th touchdown catch in the second quarter.
- Artavis Scott tied Sammy Watkins for the career receptions record at Clemson, putting him at 240 in just three seasons.
- Scott caught a pass in his 36th consecutive game, tying Jerry Butler and DeAndre Hopkins for the school record.
- Dexter Lawrence had a career-high two sacks, giving him seven for his freshman season. He tied Chester McGlockton (1989) and Michael Dean Perry (1984) for the Clemson freshman record, but both were redshirt players while Lawrence is in his first year.
- Carlos Watkins recorded a sack, giving him 8.5 for the season, most by a Clemson defensive tackle since Vance Hammond’s 8.5 in 1990.
- Cordrea Tankersley recorded two interceptions for the first time in a game. It marked the second straight year he had at least one interception in the ACC Championship Game.
- C.J. Fuller had a career-long 27-yard carry in the first quarter.